Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »

Detecting pesticide residues quicker and more efficiently

University of Singapore: Nanoparticles used for pesticide screening

Previously undetectable traces of a common vegetable pesticide have been extracted by local researchers using a new screening technique. They are using a new method, making use of tiny nanoparticles to grab molecules of pyrethroids, a group of synthetic pesticides that are used to protect crops from insects.

The new method is 10 times more sensitive than conventional methods and can detect concentrations of the pesticide of as low as 0.02 nanograms in vegetables.

Food scientist with the National University of Singapore, Yang Hongshun, claims consumers are more and more concerned about chemicals in their food, always wanting to be informed about traces of pesticides - even if they are within the safety limits.

Yang, who is with the NUS Food Science and Technology Programme says, “This method can be used by food safety authorities to check the authenticity of 'pesticide-free' claims.”

His team studied the use of nanoparticles to detect traces of the pesticide in vegetable oil and 10 types of vegetables, such as lettuce. After blending the vegetable samples, the liquid portion of the mixture was extracted and mixed with the nanoparticles.

According to an article by, the new method is also able to screen for pesticides in a given sample three times faster, as the nanoparticles are designed to zoom in on a particular molecule. Conventional methods of detection, such as through column filtration, are less specific and more time consuming.

Next, the team is looking at designing nanoparticles that can hone in on other molecules, including toxins produced by fungus, said PhD student Yu Xi, who was also involved in the research. The team is currently in talks with vegetable farmers, distributors and a food safety facility on commercialising the technique.

Publication date: 2/22/2018



Other news in this sector:

6/21/2018 NL: Tomato chlorosis virus found at 7 more nurseries
6/19/2018 US: Beekeepers now earn as much from pollination as from honey
6/19/2018 UK: Early appearance of late blight raises concerns for tomato growers
6/18/2018 "High risk of food shortages without pesticides"
6/18/2018 New protection for SWD and other small insects
6/18/2018 US (OH): Phytophthora blight reported in Huron County
6/15/2018 US (NC): AgBiome awarded multi-year grant for biological nematicide project
6/15/2018 US: Pyrethrins and canola oil combine in new insecticide/miticide
6/15/2018 "Check sanitizer regularly is a necessary measure"
6/14/2018 UK: New biorational herbicide for weed control in veg crops
6/14/2018 More European growers to benefit from anti-stress agent
6/14/2018 Peru: 75% of pepper varieties in danger
6/14/2018 UK: AHDB secure emergency crop protection authorisations
6/13/2018 UK: Update on lettuce Fusarium wilt
6/11/2018 German scientists develop organic insect deterrent for agriculture
6/11/2018 US: Partnership leads to new bacterial disease control products
6/11/2018 University videos are guide to crop and pest management techniques
6/11/2018 Savona crop protection product no longer available
6/11/2018 EU prohibits three Neonicotinoids – except in greenhouses
6/8/2018 US (GA): University team researching whiteflies statewide